Roll Calls: Identifying the House Democrats’ Fossil Fuel Caucus

Jonathan Cohn
10 min readJan 30, 2023

House Republicans began their new session in power with a chaotic series of Speaker votes, an attack on the IRS, and an attack on abortion rights. They continued this past week with an attack on climate action.

In particular, on Friday, House Republicans passed the Strategic Production Response Act, which would require the Secretary of Energy to develop a plan to increase oil and gas leasing on federal lands before tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a throwback to “Drill, baby, drill” that displays an ignorance of how commodity prices work and a disregard for climate science. It passed 221 to 205, with one Democrat — Jared Golden (ME-02) — joining Republicans in voting for it.

In the lead-up to this vote, the House voted on more than 50 amendments, most filed by Democrats. House Republicans had brought back an open-amendment process, which has not existed in recent years under either party.

Most Democratic amendments had to do with narrowing which companies could take advantage of the new leases or which lands would be opened up to new drilling.

Although there were occasional amendments that received unanimous support within the Democratic caucus — e.g., Rep. Raul Grijalva’s amendment to prohibit any proposed plan from including oil and gas leasing on any protected public lands and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s amendment to prohibit the bill from being construed as controverting the fact that the US must reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 to meet Paris goals, many saw at least a few Democratic defections.

Blocking Companies That Did Stock Buybacks from Benefiting under the Bill (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez)

It failed 171 to 256, with 40 Democrats joining Republicans in opposition. Here are the 40 Democrats.

Excluding Companies Taking Advantage of Certain Existing Tax Breaks (Rep. Katie Porter) S. 613

It failed 173 to 256, with 37 Democrats joining Republicans in opposition. Here are the 37 Democrats.

Restricting Plans to Oil Leasing (Rep. Sean Casten)

It failed 191 to 237, with Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick voting with Democrats in support and 20 Democrats voting with Republicans in opposition.

Blocking Plans on Federal Lands Viable for Renewable Energy Production (Rep. Raul Grijalva)

It failed 197 to 235, with 17 Democrats joining all but one Republican (Fitzpatrick again) in opposition.

The 17 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Jim Costa (CA-21), Angie Craig (MN-03), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Donald Davis (NC-01), Chris Deluzio (PA-17), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Excluding Federal Lands with a High Concentration of Orphaned Wells (Rep. Joaquin Castro)

This amendment failed 197 to 230, with 14 Democrats joining all but one Republican (Fitzpatrick) in opposition.

The 14 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Troy Carter (LA-02), Jim Costa (CA-21), Angie Craig (MN-02), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), Jeffrey Jackson (NC-14), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Mary Peltola (AK-AL), Hilary Scholten (MI-03), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Blocking Plans that Would Negatively Impact Air Quality (Rep. Steve Cohen)

It failed 199 to 232, with 14 Democrats voting in opposition and 1 Republican (Fitzpatrick) in support.

The 14 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Jim Costa (CA-21), Angie Craig (MN-02), Donald Davis (NC-01), Chris Deluzio (PA-17), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), Mary Peltola (AK-AL),

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Marc Veasey (TX-33), and Susan Wild (PA-07).

Blocking Plans until the Dpt of Enegy Certifies that an Increase in Federal Lands Leased for Oil & Gas Will Not Result in an Increase in GHG Emissions (Rep. Robert Garcia)

It failed 199 to 230, with 13 Democrats voting against it and 1 Republican voting in favor (BF).

The 13 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Jim Costa (CA-21), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Angie Craig (MN-02), Donald Davis (NC-01), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Vincente Gonzalez (TX-34), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Marc Veasey (TX-33), and Susan Wild (PA-07).

Restricting Plans to Oil Leasing and Prohibiting an Increase in the % of Federal Lands Leased for Oil unless Certain Conditions Are Met (Rep. Sean Casten)

It failed 195 to 229, with 13 Democrats voting in opposition with Republicans.

The 13 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Angie Craig (MN-02), Donald Davis (NC-01), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Mary Peltola (AK-AL), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Patrick Ryan (NY-18), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Restricting Plans to Oil Leasing and Disallowing Companies that Don’t Submit a Robust Climate Plan (Rep. Sean Casten)

It failed 199 to 231, with 12 Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.

The 12 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Angie Craig (MN-02), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Mary Peltola (AK-AL), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Blocking Plans from Including Oil & Gas Leases on Federal Lands that would be Inconsistent with Paris Climate Goals (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez)

It failed 199 to 229, with Fitzpatrick joining Democrats and 11 Democrats joining Republicans.

The 11 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Jim Costa (CA-21), Angie Craig (MN-02), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Donald Davis (NC-01), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Jared Golden (ME-02), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Excluding Price-Gouging Firms (Rep. Jamaal Bowman)

This amendment failed 201 to 229, with 9 Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition.

The 9 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Sean Casten (IL-06), Angie Craig (MN-02), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), Mary Peltola (AK-AL), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Additional Amendments upon Amendments upon Amendments

Rather than highlighting each of the amendments that received only a handful of Democratic defectors, let’s highlight the additional defections by representative.

The chart below shows the amendments that the most common defectors voted AGAINST. Those Democratic defectors were Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Donald Davis (NC-01), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), and Mary Peltola (AK-AL).

Beyond these, the other defectors were the following:

Colin Allred (TX-32), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from providing for oil and gas leasing on Federal land where it would decrease land and water available for outdoor recreation
  • AGAINST prohibiting any increase in leases on Federal lands under the plan that would not provide a fair return for taxpayers
  • AGAINST excluding the Great Lakes from being leased for oil and gas production as part of a proposed plan
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy determines that the plan will not negatively impact consumers whose homes are heated by petroleum-based fuels

Jim Costa (CA-21), who also voted…

  • AGAINST excluding any tract off the coast of Virginia from being leased for oil and gas production as part of a proposed plan
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, publishes a report on the number, location, and owner of all unused permits to drill for oil and gas on Federal land
  • AGAINST requiring the Secretary of Energy to consider the number of inactive but approved oil and gas leases and permits that have already been issued before the date of enactment
  • AGAINST adding an exception for if the Secretary of Energy determines that a delay in the drawdown would worsen inflation

Jared Golden (ME-02), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy certifies that an increase in oil and gas leasing would not perpetuate environmental injustice
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from providing for oil and gas leasing on Federal land where it would decrease land and water available for outdoor recreation
  • AGAINST requiring the Secretary of Energy to consult the Administrator of the EPA and Council on Environmental Quality in the preparation of a plan
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, publishes a report on the number, location, and owner of all unused permits to drill for oil and gas on Federal land

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy certifies that an increase in oil and gas leasing would not perpetuate environmental injustice
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from including oil and gas leases that would result in or exacerbate burdens on communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and Indigenous communities
  • AGAINST requiring the Secretary of Energy to consult the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality in the preparation of a plan, in addition to the Secretary of Defense
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from providing for oil and gas leasing on Federal land where it would decrease land and water available for outdoor recreation

Jim Himes (CT-04), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting the bill from affecting the President and Secretary of Energy’s authority to draw down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to lower gas prices
  • AGAINST adding an exception for if the Secretary of Energy determines that a delay in the drawdown would worsen inflation
  • AGAINST adding an exception for if the Secretary of Energy determines that a delay in a drawdown will increase gas prices

Marc Veasey (TX-33), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from providing for oil and gas leasing on Federal land where it would decrease land and water available for outdoor recreation
  • AGAINST restricting oil and gas leasing as part of a proposed plan on Federal lands that have no or low potential for oil and gas development
  • AGAINST any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy determines that the plan will not negatively impact consumers whose homes are heated by petroleum-based fuels

Ed Case (HI-01), who voted

  • AGAINST prohibiting the bill and its amendments from being construed to controvert that communities of color and low-income communities face the greatest harms of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy certifies that an increase in oil and gas leasing would not perpetuate environmental injustice

Angie Craig (MN-02), who also voted…

  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy determines that the plan will not negatively impact consumers whose homes are heated by petroleum-based fuels
  • AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, publishes a report on the number, location, and owner of all unused permits to drill for oil and gas on Federal land

Kim Schrier (WA-08), who also voted AGAINST…

  • Requiring the Secretary of Energy to consult the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality in the preparation of a plan, in addition to the Secretary of Defense
  • Prohibiting any proposed plan from providing for oil and gas leasing on Federal land where it would decrease land and water available for outdoor recreation

Chris Pappas (NH-01), who also voted AGAINST prohibiting any proposed plan from taking effect until the Secretary of Energy certifies that an increase in oil and gas leasing would not perpetuate environmental injustice, and

Greg Stanton (AZ-04), who also voted AGAINST requiring the Secretary of Energy to consult the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality in the preparation of a plan, in addition to the Secretary of Defense.

Beyond these Democratic-filed amendments, Lauren Boebert filed an amendment to make the bill even worse by changing the allowable increase in the percentage of Federal lands leased for oil and gas from 10 to 15 percent.

It passed 220 to 212, with 5 Democrats voting for it and 4 Republicans voting against it.

The 5 Democrats were Colin Allred (TX-32), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Jim Costa (CA-21), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), and Mary Peltola (AK-AL).

The bill will likely not be taken up by the Senate at all, and rightfully so.

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Jonathan Cohn

Editor. Bibliophile. Gadfly. Environmentalist. Super-volunteer for progressive campaigns. Boston by way of Baltimore, London, NYC, DC, and Philly.